By Linky van der Merwe
When I was contacted by Colin Ellis to do a review of his new book: “The Conscious Project Leader”, I was curious to find out what new can be said about this well covered topic? I was pleasantly surprised!
Colin has a fresh perspective on project management, resulting in a book that you cannot put down once you start reading it. His wisdom comes from two decades of experience (in the coal face, as he calls it) and from doing projects on three different continents, Britain, New Zealand and Australia. Colin is also a speaker, writer and mentor on Conscious Project Leadership. One of his outstanding qualities, seems to be his sense of humour.
Leadership and Culture
The book is written from the perspective of how to create a culture of success for your projects, your team and yourself. Although leadership is covered in detail, much focus is also given to culture; like hiring, having a vision, collaboration, stakeholder satisfaction and celebrating success.
He covers just enough technical project management to make the book complete and without any unnecessary jargon that may confuse a reader. It is written in an informal style that is very engaging.
The chapters are short and to the point. There are numerous references to other books to read, videos to watch and actions to take, putting the reader on a journey of self-discovery and development towards becoming a conscious leader.
Lift Project Performance
What I compassionately agree with Colin, is that projects can change the world and that it’s frustrating that a big percentage of projects continue to fail. This book is his contribution to improve project success by helping professionals to be great project leaders and to give them the knowledge to be consistently successful. Another point we agree on is that we believe project success stories make the best lessons to learn.
Colin argues that projects are about people and that perhaps too much emphasis is placed on methods and processes and not enough on developing leaders who are responsible and accountable for project delivery.
Although I don’t disagree with that, I believe that developing leadership skills is equally important to having the right foundation of using methods and processes consistently. Training approaches should put equal weighting on both hard, as well as soft skills.
Once you finish reading, Colin reminds you that this is just the beginning of your journey towards Conscious Project Leadership and that you have a big responsibility to apply your knowledge and to create the culture that will contribute to success. He challenges his fellow project practitioners to help make our profession proud.
Compared to other Project Leadership books that I have reviewed before, like “Leadership Toolbox for Project Managers by Michel Dion and The Power of Project Leadership by Susanne Madsen, I think this book complements what is already written.
It is modern in the sense that you can read it on a mobile device and visit the links at the end of chapters immediately. Colin has also prepared relevant quotes that he encourages the reader to share with their social networks using #CPL. It may start a movement under professionals who are committed to change.
I can recommend this book to all project practitioners, PMO managers/directors and people who have the opportunity to coach and mentor new and inexperienced project leaders.